20th Anniversary of Bollinger Everyman Wodehouse Prize marked by exciting and eclectic shortlist
At a time when funny fiction is needed the most we are very pleased to report the 2020 Bollinger Everyman Wodehouse Prize for Comic Fiction shortlist has been announced.
As the UK’s first and oldest award for comic fiction the prize selects the best comic novels of the past 12 months, seeking the books that best evoke the Wodehouse spirit of witty characters and perfectly-timed comic phrase.
Over a lively online meeting, with the usual glasses of Bollinger champagne, the judges whittled down the 68 submissions to the final six. Musical comedian and improviser, Pippa Evans and comedian Sindhu Vee, in their second and third years as judges respectively joined the long- standing judges; broadcaster and author James Naughtie; Everyman’s Library publisher, David Campbell and a Vice President of the Hay Festival and Director of National Trust Wales, Justin Albert.
This year’s witty sextet, which prompted laughter from the judges, includes Weather, the highly praised novel by Jenny Offill sees its protagonist lucklessly navigating through modern life. The second Granta published novel on this year’s shortlist, Rules for Visiting, follows a woman’s journey to reunite with four estranged friends. The 2016 prize winner, Hannah Rothchild’s latest novel House of Trelawney, a hilarious satire on old and new money. FLAKE, the first graphic novel to be shortlisted for the prize, tells a tale of ice cream wars and sibling rivalry. Nobber, the debut by Irish writer Oisín Fagan, a darkly hilarious tale of the small town of Nobber in medieval Ireland, battling through the plague. And 46% Better than Dave, which sees protagonist Dave confronted by the deep feeling that his neighbour, also Dave, is just better than him in every way…
The winner of the UK’s leading prize for comic fiction will be announced on Midsummer’s Day, 24 June. The winner will be awarded with a jeroboam of Bollinger Special Cuvée, a case of Bollinger La Grande Année, the complete set of the Everyman’s Library P.G. Wodehouse collection and a pig to name.